Vox has partnered with South African tech and gaming content creator and international esports shoutcaster Sam “Tech Girl” Wright, as part of its efforts to promote, and improve accessibility to gaming in the South African market.

“Lockdown highlighted the importance of entertainment and social interaction for people from all walks of life, and gaming today is one such social experience. Far removed from the stereotypes of the past, playing games is something that the entire family can enjoy while they make new online friends and learn new skills in the process,” says Andrew King, Head of Division: Voice, Visual Comms and Gaming.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Sam as we share a common passion to get more people gaming.  Sam is a highly respected professional in the Gaming arena and works tirelessly to keep her audience informed and inspired about all aspects of gaming and tech related developments.  By working with Sam, Vox can reach a broader audience with our tailored gaming offerings, and as importantly, simultaneously hear from this extended audience as to how we can continue focusing our innovation to address their needs and challenges”, adds King.

Wright is a leading esports shoutcaster who has worked in Europe, China and Africa on a variety of titles as a host and caster. Wright has hosted and shoutcasted popular titles including PUBG, CSGO, FIFA, Sim Racing, Smash Bros, and Overwatch.

Her own content creation on her personal blog, YouTube channel, and Twitch stream allowed her to become one of the leading voices on gaming and technology in Africa while showcasing behind-the-scenes vlogs of events, live stream gameplay, and interviews with popular gaming personalities. She features regularly on South African television and radio chatting about competitive and casual gaming.

“Vox has a rad gaming platform that really aims to give South African gamers accessibility to ensure they can feed their passion. I will bring a bit of my own flavour, coupled with big ideas and dreams for how we can do best by the gaming community and find new ways to get us all gaming!

“I honestly believe we all have a gamer inside of us. Whether you’re jamming Candy Crush on your phone or competing at the highest level in CSGO. For me though, I want to reach those gamers who are playing for the love of it on their consoles, PCs and mobile devices. They’re passionate gamers already but wanting to take it to the next level,” says Wright.

According to Wright, South Africa has a smaller player base due to the unique socio-economic issues that hamper our gaming growth in comparison to leading gaming countries – with accessibility and connectivity being the two big ones that need to be addressed.

“We have a smaller player base because of this. In addition, we’re also rather far away from the rest of the world, so competing online can lead to high ping, making it difficult to really perform on an even playing field,” she says.

A focus on gaming

Vox has been taking steps to address challenges in both of these areas: Vox recently added the South American Cable System (SACS) that delivers a direct route and the lowest latency connection to South America and (via the MONET cable system) to the USA.  Vox peer directly with a growing list of service providers in both Sau Paulo and New York – many of which host gaming platforms.

In December last year, the company introduced Xbox rentals, giving local players a more cost-effective way of getting into gaming with either an Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. It also ensures that South Africans have access to leading game consoles at a time when the global chip shortage is leading to several electronic items not being available on the local market (or even anywhere else, in some cases).

In August this year, Vox introduced Gaming Essentials for the company’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) subscribers. It includes proprietary gaming-specific configurations added to a service-provider grade router on the customers premises, which minimises jitter and eliminates latency spikes due to buffering under high load.

This Quality of Service (QoS) feature prioritises UDP traffic, shielding gaming traffic from other internet traffic on the network, thereby reducing latency for gamers. Another feature introduced to support local gamers was the introduction of a streaming relay service, where local gamers can stream in high definition to a local Vox edge server, which relays their stream to global platforms such as Twitch or YouTube.

“I think Vox understands that there are some big hurdles for South African gamers when it comes to connectivity and accessibility. They have already started making moves to address these and it made sense to join forces with a company who wants to help more people get gaming.

“I really think the future of gaming is bright in South Africa. As more people get connected and online, the world of gaming is opening up to them. With the pandemic we saw so many people trying their hand at games with friends and I’m hoping that momentum continues into 2022,” adds Wright.